Clinical decision support for hematology laboratory test utilization

Int J Lab Hematol. 2017 May;39 Suppl 1:128-135. doi: 10.1111/ijlh.12679.


Clinical decision support (CDS) is the use of information and communication technologies to improve clinical decision making and patient care. CDS applications have been used in many aspects of health care, including medication ordering and diagnostic prediction algorithms. As economic and regulatory pressures place a strain on laboratory resources, the potential of CDS to improve utilization of laboratory testing has also begun to be realized. Hematology and coagulation laboratories stand to gain tremendously from the implementation of CDS interventions, given their mixture of high-volume, low-cost tests (eg CBC, PT, aPTT) and tests that carry a high potential of being misused or misinterpreted (eg lupus anticoagulant, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia testing). This brief review will define the key terms in the field of clinical decision support, provide instructive examples of CDS interventions to improve utilization of hematology and coagulation testing, introduce methods to implement these interventions effectively, and discuss metrics by which the success of these interventions can be evaluated.

Keywords: computers; education; healthcare costs; laboratory practice; laboratory utilization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Decision Making*
  • Hematologic Diseases* / blood
  • Hematologic Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Hematologic Diseases* / economics
  • Hematologic Tests* / economics
  • Hematologic Tests* / methods
  • Hematologic Tests* / standards
  • Humans
  • Laboratories, Hospital* / economics
  • Laboratories, Hospital* / standards